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Warning! These Items Contain Xylitol!

Xylitol is a popular sugar substitute that's been used for decades in many different products. But it's also highly toxic to dogs. In fact, just last year, a Great Dane in Ontario died after eating a pack of gum.

But gum is not the only thing that we have around our homes that contains xylitol, and you might have highly toxic substances within reach of your dog right now. Read on to find out why xylitol is dangerous for dogs, get a list of products that commonly contain this artificial sweetener, how to avoid them, and what to do if you think your dog might have eaten some.

Why Is Xylitol Dangerous for Dogs

Xylitol works as an artificial sweetener for people because it's got little to no effect on blood sugar  or insulin levels- unlike glucose. Many other animals share this effect with us, but in dogs, cats, rabbits, cows and a few other species, xylitol has the opposite effect. It causes a massive insulin release, which causes blood sugar to plummet dramatically.

It's this sharp drop in blood sugar (much like when a diabetic gets low blood sugar) that can be dangerous and even deadly to dogs and other animals who experience these xylitol triggered insulin spikes and blood sugar drops.

This all leads to vomiting, lethargy, trembling or seizures, potentially massive liver damage, and even death, and it can happen very quickly, within as little as half an hour.

It does not take much for this to happen either. As little as 0.1 grams per kilogram of body weight is all it takes to trigger a potentially deadly reaction.

Where Do You Find Xylitol?

Because xylitol is an artificial sweetener, it's very common in sugar free products. Gum, certain candies, and other products that are labeled as sugar free probably contain xylitol. So do peanut butter, sugar free jellies and jams, certain cereals, some baked goods and other foods. Toothpaste and mouthwash also often contain this type of sweetener.

So, while keeping the gum away from your dog is a good start, that does not mean your home is a safe, xylitol free zone!

How to Avoid Xylitol

Although many products state that they are artificially sweetened, or sugar free, they don't always state if they contain xylitol. It's always best, for that reason, to assume that anything you buy that is sugar free or artificially sweetened might have xylitol in it, and either avoid it, or if you do have it at home, keep it far away from your dog.

Remember that it's not only things that you give your dog that are risky. Dogs like to get their snoots into everything, and anything that's left in reach is a potential hazard. Keep all products that might contain this chemical far away from anything your dog can reach.

What to Do If Your Dog Eats Xylitol

When a dog eats something with xylitol in it, you can consider it a medical emergency. If your dog does not get proper treatment quickly, it could well become fatal.

So whether you're certain your dog has eaten xylitol or just suspect it, it's always best to go to the vet as soon as possible, and to take anything you think your dog might have eaten with you. The sooner you get treatment, the better the chances your dog will make a recovery.

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